Daniel Cormier has admitted it would not surprise him to see Khabib Nurmagomedov make a return to UFC just a week after announcing his retirement, and claimed he could fight against Conor McGregor in a rematch next year.
Khabib took his unblemished record to 29 wins and zero defeats after his UFC 254 victory over Justin Gaethje last month.
It was thought that the 32-year-old would target 30-0 before retiring from UFC, but the Russian nevertheless decided to call it a day.
Daniel Cormier said it would be a surprise him if Khabib Nurmagomedov made a return to UFC
Cormier also claimed a fight against Conor McGregor in a rematch next year is an option
Khabib took his unblemished record to 29 wins and zero defeats after his UFC 254 victory over Justin Gaethje last month
UFC president Dana White insists he ‘gets the feeling’ that Khabib will come back for one more fight, but UFC legend Cormer has now stated he has spoken to him about his plans and would not be surprised to see him fight again.
‘We didn’t get much into it [White’s comments],’ Cormier said on DC and Helwani. ‘We laughed about it a little bit but you know what, I think that if you’re Dana White, you’re saying what you need to. Hope that that is what Khabib wants to do.
‘I think if you’re Dana White and the UFC, you’re hopeful that’s what Khabib wants to do, but like I said last week, if Khabib Nurmagomedov gives his word, generally that’s a fact.
‘Now, would I be surprised with the economic impact that a fight he could have could bring him back? No, and I would not judge him for that if he came back.
It was thought that the 32-year-old would target 30-0 after beating Gaethje before retiring from UFC, but the Russian nevertheless decided to call it a day
But now Cormer has claimed he will not be surprised if Khabib does return to the octagon
‘He’s 32 years old for God’s sake and he can still beat everybody in the world. But there are things that if he says it’s his word, I take him at that.’
White also insisted Khabib would retain his lightweight crown despite his retirement, with Cormier comparing the situation to that of the decision not to vacate the flyweight and bantamweight titles when Henry Cejudo retired earlier this year.
The UFC immediately set up fights for the vacant bantamweight and flyweight straps, and Cormier believes a similar decision should be taken here.
UFC president Dana White insisted Khabib would retain his lightweight crown despite retiring
‘I think that’s smart and that speaks to the value that Khabib has.’ said DC. ‘Henry Cejudo said he was done, the same night they announced Petr Yan was gonna fight somebody for that title.
‘You don’t do that to Khabib Nurmagomedov. You sit and hope. You sit and wait and hope. Like Dana said, he was very emotional. You could see it, it all came out of him. So you sit and you wait and you hope that the stance changes and you do get that thirtieth fight.
‘You don’t [even] have to make a decision in January. You’ve got time in regards to Khabib Nurmagomedov and if push comes to shove and he needs more time, create another interim title and he just beats the interim champion. That’s exactly what’s happened the last couple times.’
And Cormer compared it to the situation when Henry Cejudo retired earlier this year
Cormer also believes he can imagine a rematch for Khabib with Irishman McGregor in 2021
McGregor is among a host of contenders in line to challenge for an interim title should one come up, and Cormier admits he can envisage a stunning rematch between Khabib and the 32-year-old Irishman in 2021.
‘Could you imagine if McGregor gets a hold of the interim championship and now you got to Khabib and go, ‘Hey, October, Abu Dhabi, you and McGregor again, boatloads of money?’ Cormier asked.
‘Because now, you’re Khabib, you walked away, you could say, ‘I want more,’ and there’s a good chance you’ll probably get more because that’s a home run. It’s a home run, you and McGregor.’
Ugly scenes marred their first encounter at UFC 229 in October 2018 after lightweight champion Khabib began a brawl with McGregor by the octagon seconds after landing a fourth-round submission.
Ugly scenes marred their first bout in 2018 after Khabib had landed a fourth-round submission
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